Facebook breaks more records in mmWave trials

21 April 2017 | James Pearce

Facebook has continued to break records with its millimetre-wave (MMW) technology, hitting speeds of 80Gbps in its latest round of tests.

Last year, the social media giant claimed to have smashed records when it set up channels with data rates of up to 20Gbps over a distance of around eight miles, but Facebook claimed to have quadrupled this in tests carried out this year.

The tests used Facebook’s own optical cross-link technology, which was developed as part of Facebook’s Internet.org campaign to provide internet to everyone across the globe.

It was one of three connectivity milestones announcements made during Facebook’s recent F8 developer conference. Facebook also revealed a 13km point-to-point connected hitting 3Gbps using MMW technology.

Another record the social media firm claims to have hit was achieving a 16Gbps MMW connection from a location on the ground to a Cessna aircraft, which was circling over 7Km away.

Facebook also revealed that its Terragraph system, which is currently under testing in San Jose, has became the first city-scale mess MMW system capable of deliver fibre-like multi-gigabits of performance and reliability.

Terragraph is a terrestrial connectivity system which uses 60GHZ multi-node wireless technology to provide high-speed connectivity in dense urban areas. The V-band spectrum nodes are placed across a city at 200-250 metre intervals, creating a mesh controlled by an SDN-like cloud component.

Facebook’s continued push into developing connectivity solutions mirrors that of rival Google, which launched its own Fiber project in the US, before putting a stop to it last year.

According to Techcrunch, Facebook has no interest in commercialising these products, instead planning to use it to contribute to communities such as its own Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), which includes the likes of Orange, Tata Communications, Vodafone, Telefonica and Airtel.

“There is technology development and then there’s the community — how we engage with the world,” Facebook’s director of its connectivity programs Yael Maguire told Techcrunch. “As technology gets developed, the plan is to contribute it to community organizations, TIP— modelled after the Open Compute project — and then figure out how we get like-minded companies and individuals excited about thinking about how technology gets deployed at scale.”